Saving for Long-Term Travel, Part Five

Continued from Part Four

A Flashpacker’s Travel Expenses

I could have spent less money than I did. But I don’t budget, and it’s hard to be frugal when you’ve got $30K sitting in an account. I don’t believe I wasted money, but I did make a few mistakes that cost me, such as pre-booking expensive accommodation in Goa and chasing Lady Luck in a Singapore casino. But, I still think I’m a budget traveller because I stay in hostels and self-cater when possible, I couchsurf, I take public transit when possible, I make use of discounts and free activities, and I choose budget accommodation when hostels aren’t available. Here’s a sample of what my adventures have cost me, in average daily costs.*

Country: Iceland
Average Daily Costs: $260
Notes: Iceland is expensive, and it’s even more expensive when you rent a car on your own and take a $280 tour inside a volcano. But I stayed in bring-your-own bedding hostels and relied heavily on my jar of peanut butter and stash of instant soups and oatmeal. I only stayed 5 days, so big ticket items have a larger influence on the average.

Country: United Kingdom (London and Cardiff)
Average Daily Costs: $90
Notes: I stayed with my friend BGF in London and in a cheap hostel in Cardiff. Apart from my Olympic events, and spending three days in Wales, I didn’t do that much—I was still busy working on lingering projects. So I didn’t spend that much and cooked at home most days. Of course, the Olympics tickets have a notable effect on the average.

Country: Thailand
Average Daily Cost: $30
Notes: I didn’t travel around Thailand very much—I was staying with a friend in Surat Thani and working on projects. We took a few weekend trips to the jungle and the beach, and spent one week at a resort. While food was generally cheap in the non-touristy city, we also splurged on more expensive meals and treats. I took side trips to Macau and Singapore while in Thailand, the expenses of which were tracked separately.

Country: Cambodia
Average Daily Cost: $50
Notes: Cambodia was more expensive than I anticipated. Tuk-tuks and food in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are much more than in Surat Thani—and I squeezed a lot into just two weeks. I also ate in a lot of “tourist” restaurants due to circumstances beyond my control.

Country: India
Average Daily Cost: $80
Notes: A two-week tour and expensive hotels in Goa and Darjeeling jacked up my costs. The carpet I bought isn’t included in this figure, nor are my flights within India. But food cost more than I expected it would. India could have been cheaper, but I rarely went with the cheapest options, opting for more comfort and added security.

Country: Spain
Average Daily Cost: $68
Notes: This includes two weeks of Spanish courses, and two weeks of free accommodations with my parents on their house exchange (and 4 weeks of accommodations I paid for!). If you don’t count my tuition, my daily spending is closer to $40 a day—Spain is super cheap!

Country: Italy
Average Daily Cost: $140
Notes: I crammed a lot of Italy into a three-week visit—museum entrances, a car rental, lots of great but not-so-cheap meals, lots of delicious gelato, lots of wine, and no dorm rooms. I’m surprised it didn’t cost more!


*Average Daily Costs do not include my airfare (even within a country) or non-travel-related expenses such as computer equipment, a Kashmiri carpet, and casino losses.